Religious Holidays Quiz

Handy Religion 2e
ISBN: 9781578593798
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What are the major festivities and other formerly regular festivals once historically associated with CIT?

  • At the Forbidden City's Hall of Supreme Harmony, major sacred events included the enthronement of a new emperor and royal weddings.
  • Celebrating days associated with deities of purely local or regional origin and importance remained the task of Daoists and practitioners of CCT.
  • Many of the religiously significant times acknowledged with rituals in sacred sites affiliated with CIT overlap with popular Daoist and CCT practices.
  • Celebrations of the winter solstice and new year are sacred events.


Each year on the day before the winter solstice, the emperor and his retinue visited the Temple of Heaven for an elaborate event. When paying homage to Heaven and Earth, the emperor would perform gestures of humility by kneeling three times and prostrating himself nine times. When he sacrificed to other powers, such as the sun, the moon, and the gods with power over the forces of nature, the emperor did not perform those rituals of self-abasement. At the Forbidden City's Hall of Supreme Harmony, major sacred events included the enthronement of a new emperor, royal weddings, an event held every ten years called the Great Anniversary, announcement of results of civil service examinations, and celebrations of the winter solstice and new year. In the Hall of Middle Harmony, the emperor formulated decrees to be made public in royal temples at all the various seasonal festivities. Imperial officials designated by the emperor, or local administrators in the case of smaller events, took care of the regular agriculturally significant occasions throughout the country.

Many of the religiously significant times acknowledged with rituals in sacred sites affiliated with CIT overlap with popular Daoist and CCT practices. The Literati, who functioned as ritual specialists in service of the imperial house, generally looked down on Daoist and CCT devotionalism and often made fun of their beliefs. But as servants of the emperor, they could hardly afford to snub the very deities to whom the general populace prayed for success in mundane but important matters such as timely rain and abundant harvest. When the emperor's far-flung political administrators entered into their roles as religious ritualists, they often found themselves crossing an imaginary line from the elite to the everyday life of the locals. Celebrating days associated with deities of purely local or regional origin and importance remained the task of Daoists and practitioners of CCT. But when they paid homage to local or regional deities whom the emperor had elevated to the CIT pantheon, the Literati were providing implicit legitimation for popular beliefs and practices. In addition to the birthday of Confucius on the twenty-seventh day of the eighth lunar month, CIT also celebrated new and full moon occasions, some of which coincided with feasts like that of Lao Zi (second month, day fifteen) and the Hungry Ghosts (seventh month, day fifteen).

From The Handy Religion Answer Book, Second Edition by Jack Rendard, Ph.D., (c) 2012 Visible Ink Press(R). Your Guide to the World's Major Faiths

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